Celebrating the Developer Creators, Data Innovators, Deeptech Dreamers and Introducing Crane Fund II

Posted: 24 May 2022

“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” – Lao Tzu

And our journey still has some way to go, with many bumps, twists, turns, lows and highs to come.

The privilege of interacting with visionary entrepreneurs – be it those we’ve had the good fortune to back or those we haven’t – is like having an internal wellspring to draw on. Constantly reviving, never endingly energising, humbling.

With our first fund in 2018, we were fortunate to be early observers and believers in Europe’s then untapped pool of software and data talent – and we profoundly thank this group of talented founders for reinforcing our beliefs: Aire, Datapane, Satchel, Intelliment, OpenSensors, Avora, Prodo, Tessian, Shipamax, Optimal, Virtuoso, Reinfer, Harbr, Omnius, Stratio, Plumerai, ThoughtRiver, Senseon, Cyberhaven, Centrifuge, AlertFusion, 7Bridges, Axiom, Foundries, NextMatter, Forecast, SQR Systems, Triggermesh, CoMind, Tinybird, PQShield, Paid, Silverflow, Gitpod, Fiberplane and Gigs.

More than 75% of the companies we backed at the seed stage  from that first fund have progressed to Series A businesses. They have raised material rounds at great valuations, but what we take most pride in is the majority having shown commercial success, to the tune of more than $2 million in ARR, and efficiently deployed capital to lay the foundations for their own future success.

We are particularly indebted to every founder we’ve met in the last 5 years for helping us to constantly learn from our mistakes:

  • Recognising, sometimes painfully, when to trust our instincts and back visionary product founders long before they have a product in market
  • Learning the interdependence of product and market on the path to PMF, where often  finding the right GTM motion can be the key unlock
  • Surfacing the under-appreciated creative talent of developers
  • Remembering that open source is not about free, but about freedom, and every critical bit of software will eventually be open source

These learnings have been instrumental in both reaffirming our beliefs and informing the evolution of our strategy for Crane II:

  • To double down on the core elements of our strategy from the outset:
    • Backing builders who’ve lived the problem they’re seeking to solve
    • Products that are data first, machine learned, open source, that put meaningful new capabilities in the hands of builders and operators
    • GTM as our best means to support founders in their journey to PMF, which is why we have built a team including the incomparable Rav Dhaliwal (our Chief Customer Officer in Residence); Morgane Zerath (our very own Software Sales Guru); Aneel Lakhani (Product Marketer and Data Product geek); Megan Reynolds (passionate Dev advocate & AE talent spotter); our CMO in Residence, the inimitable Richard Snee and last but by no means least Ayala Ples, bringing yet more customer centricity to our team;
  • To expand and invest in every flavour of Seed – from Pre-Seed to Pre-A
  • Seek out and back the emerging wave of Developer-Creators
  • Celebrate OSS builders and empower them to shape the future of software

And it is thus only fitting that as we announce our second fund, we welcome to the Crane herd the companies (which we are able to disclose presently) that we’ve already backed over the past year – Lune, Cerbos, Encord, Qovery, Encore, ZenML, Mycelial, Novu, Timeseer and Nuclia. We expect to announce the other 10 investments we’ve made in the coming months. 

If you like what we do or what our portfolio companies do, please reach out – we are hiring and so are they!

Our own journey began with deep belief in the emergence of European entrepreneurs as category leaders and a deep desire to seek out and back them from the very beginning of their journeys. And so we are thankful to all our LPs and to every entrepreneur we encounter for allowing us to continue on this path.


The long and winding road

That leads to your door

Will never disappear

I’ve seen that road before

It always leads me here

Lead me to you door…………..

– Lennon & McCartney, The Long & Winding Road